Malcolm H Levitt
Professor of Physical Chemistry
Head of Magnetic Resonance
Room No. 27/2026
University of Southampton
Highfield, Southampton
SO17 1BJ
(023) 8059 6753
(023) 8059 3781
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  • Background
  • Current Research
  • Selected Publications

Malcolm Levitt was an undergraduate in Chemistry at Keble College, Oxford, and obtained his PhD from Oxford University in 1981, under the supervision of Professor Ray Freeman. He did postdoctoral research with Shimon Vega in Israel and Richard Ernst at the ETH in Zürich (who received the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1991). He was then on the research staff at the Francis Bitter Magnet Laboratory at MIT, Boston, USA, for 4 years. He moved back to England as a Royal Society Research Fellow at the Centre for Superconductivity in Cambridge, before becoming a lecturer at the University of Stockholm, Sweden, where he was made a full professor in 1997. He moved back to England to take up a Professorship in Physical Chemistry at Southampton in April 2001. He is currently Head of Magnetic Resonance at the School of Chemistry, University of Southampton.

Malcolm was elected Fellow of the Royal Society in 2007. He won the LATSIS research prize of the ETH-Zürich in 1985, the Göran Gustafsson prize in Chemistry in 1996, the Ampère prize from the International Society of Magnetic Resonance in 2005, and the Laukien prize in Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy in 2008. He is on the editorial boards of several journals, including the Journal of Magnetic Resonance and the Journal of Chemical Physics. He published Spin Dynamics, a textbook on Nuclear Magnetic Resonance, in 2001. The second Edition was published in 2008.

Apart from science, he composes music, plays jazz, paints and sketches, and is interested in art, languages and politics.

Research Interests

Our group develops new experimental techniques in nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy, and applies those techniques to systems of interest in biology and materials science. For example, we have developed new NMR techniques for determining the atomic-scale structure in non-crystalline solids, and have applied those methods to the membrane protein rhodopsin and to the class of inorganic network solids called zeolites. We are currently working on extending solid-state NMR to the study of samples at very low temperatures, which will allow us to achieve higher signal strength and allow the study of cryogenic physical phenomena such as quantum rotation by NMR. We have also demonstrated the existence of nuclear spin states with unusually long lifetimes in room-temperature liquids, and are currently exploring the possibilities of exploiting such long-lived nuclear spin states for NMR imaging.

Research keywords

Nuclear magnetic resonance. Pulse sequences. Structural biology. Membrane proteins. Spin dynamics. Nuclear singlet states. Endohedral fullerenes. Rhodopsin.

Research funding
  • 2012-2013 "Fast Sample Shuttle Probe for Nuclear Magnetic Resonance", Royal Society, £72k
  • 2012-2016 "Hyperpolarized Singlet NMR", ERC Advanced Grant, £2.4M
  • 2012-2014 "Laboratory for Enhanced Magnetic Resonance Imaging", Royal Society, £393k
  • 2011-2014 "Hyperpolarized Nuclear Singlet States", EPSRC, £1.4M (with Prof R. Brown, University of Southampton)
  • 2011-2017 "A UK Magnetic Resonance Basic Technology Centre for Doctoral Training", £3.96M (with Universities of Warwick, St Andrews, Dundee, Nottingham and Aberdeen)
  • 2011-2014 "Magnetic Resonance of Dihydrogen Endofullerenes", EPSRC, £606k (with Prof. A. J. Horsewill, University of Nottingham)
  • 2009-2013 "Singlet nuclear magnetic resonance: from theory to practice", Leverhulme Trust, £249k
  • 2007-2009 "Long-lived spin states in nuclear magnetic resonance", EPSRC, £348k.
  • 2007-2010 "Multiple-spin recoupling in nuclear magnetic resonance", EPSRC, £450k.
  • 2005-2009 "Cryogenic magic-angle-spinning NMR", Basic Technology Program, RCUK, £2.81M. Collaborative grant with Prof. P. J. F. Henderson, Department of Biochemistry, University of Leeds; Dr. A. Horsewill, School of Physics and Astronomy, University of Nottingham; Dr. M. Grossel, School of Chemistry, University of Southampton; Prof. Y. Yang, School of Engineering, University of Southampton; Dr. J. Werner, School of Biological Sciences, University of Southampton.
  • 2005-2008 "Multiple-quantum 17O NMR in solids", Royal Society, £15.5k. Collaborative grant with Dr. P. K. Madhu, Tata Institute for Fundamental Research, Mumbai, India.

Primary research group: Magnetic Resonance

Research projects

The University of Southampton's electronic library (e-prints)

Key Publications